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Archive for June, 2010

Changes To Georgia Sex Offender Registry

June 30, 2010 Comments off

See related post : Shh…Georgia’s Sex Offender Law Changed Last Week

HB 571 makes significant changes to Georgia law governing persons on the sex offender registry. Some key changes are described below.

If you have questions about how the new law applies to you, we encourage you to check with your local sheriff’s office, with your parole or probation officer, or with a legal professional. We also encourage you to read the text of the new law. HB 571 became effective on May 21, 2010.

A Summary of key provisions of HB 571

Read text of HB 571 here.

UPDATES, Monday, June 28 : Ohio Esorn Re-Classifications

June 28, 2010 Comments off

Today’s updated number of registered offenders according to the Ohio ESORN web site:

Total Number of Offenders: 18,964 (as of 2pm on 6-28-2010)
Last update: (6-21-2010): 19,206

Readers should continue to contact the Ohio Attorney General’s offices. In particular, we are told that Assistant AG Justin Hykes is the main person of responsibility here. He seems to be increasingly refusing to answer or return calls so be persistent.

Justin Hykes, Assistant Attorney General of Ohio
justin.hykes@ohioattorneygeneral.gov
614-387-4257

While a trickle of registrants are being removed, it is nearly a month after the Supreme Court ruling and we have seen just over 300 registrants removed from the sex offender registry, overall. We have heard of only one person receiving a letter from the AG office. Click the Watchdog logo below for more contact info:

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A Readers’ Email

June 25, 2010 Comments off

This keeps things in perspective:

“I am one of the few offenders, whose original Megan’s Law status “Predator with Community Notification” (based on three GSI’s with minors), had actually been lowered to “Tier-2 Level with No Community Notification” by the Adam Walsh Act. Even though the reclassification law was ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court, Senate Bill 10/AWA had actually benefited me. However, I am glad that it was ruled unconstitutional for all of the other offenders’ sake and for our constitutional rights’ sake.

I had served nearly 6 years in prison (Jan. 17th, 2003- Nov. 26th, 2008). While in prison I received news from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office that my status had been lowered. When I had gotten released, I went to the Lorain County Sheriff and started my twice annually reporting with “No” community notification (every June and December). I have been completely compliant with all reporting and restrictions. When I went to the sheriff’s office for my June reporting (June 9th, 2010) they said they couldn’t register me that day because (unbeknownst) to me, the retroactivity portion of the AWA had been ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court. They said they would call me once they got confirmation from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the local Lorain County Prosecutor’s office to look into my court file to see what the judge had deemed me under Megan’s Law. They called me on June 12th to let me know that I was being reclassified to “Predator Status with Community Notification” and that I had to come back and register so that “post cards” could be sent out (1000 feet around my address) after the sheriffs verify my address and that I will have to report every 90 days for life. I have lived in the same place since I was released from prison (a little room above a bar with no kitchen, with 3 neighbors in the other rooms above the bar; we share one bathroom). At least under the Megan’s Law, I can ask my judge for a reclassification hearing!

I have contacted an attorney. I have completed my sex offense counseling and have been deemed “least likely to re-offend” by my counselor and the Static 99 Test. I have stayed trouble-free this whole time, but have not been able to get hired by any employers. I fortunately receive help from my sister and food stamps. I used to make over $40k a year. As you can see here, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office doesn’t drag their feet when it comes to “raising” somebody’s status.

Unfortunately, all of us sex offenders (even us who have served our time) keep getting kicked in the head like a dog. Thank you for your relentless fighting and determination to keep us from losing all of our constitutional rights. I am a 4-year honorably-discharged US Navy veteran (1981-1985) and almost all I have left in this life are some constitutional rights. Enough is Enough.”

-from Roy

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A Reader’s Suggestion

June 23, 2010 Comments off

I plan to write the Justices on the Ohio Supreme Court, each one individual letters, thanking them for their sage insight in making the June 3rd decision. I want to show them that my life is profoundly impacted in a positive way by their ruling, even if the purpose of the ruling was not directly intended to alleviate the retroactive application of an expansion of registration laws, but was solely intended to protect the Judicial Powers and the Constitutional principles that guaranty them. If you decide to do likewise, and write, I recommend a brief couple of sentences, and staying on the positive side with your comments.

I think this ruling is a small opportunity to remind the Justices that we are decent, grateful people, who merely want an opportunity to live our lives, and to let them know how profoundly their decision has improved the lives of many. Maybe these ideas will lay in their memory, and come to the fore when future sex offender legislation challenges come before them.

from Chris

….This is a good suggestion…

Chief Justice Eric Brown/ Justice Paul E. Pfeifer/Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton/ Justice Maureen O’Connor/ Justice Terrence O’Donnell/ Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger/ Justice Robert R. Cupp
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 South Front Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431

UPDATES, Monday, June 21 : Ohio Esorn Re-Classifications

June 22, 2010 Comments off

Update: 6-21-2010

ESORN Total Number of Offenders: 19,206
Number of removed registrants as of 6-21-2010 (4:30PM) = 92

Last update (6-16-2010) : Total number of registrants was: 19,298
Todays total (6-21-2010): 19,206

Info is all according to the eSORN site.

[Posted by our friend, Kevin at ARC radio. Thanks Kevin !]

The Ohio Attorney General Office could not possibly move any slower than this !
Help pressure them to take more timely action by being a Watchdog:

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UPDATES, Friday June 18 : Ohio Esorn and Ohio Attorney General

June 18, 2010 Comments off

We have received more information from the office of Ohio Assistant Attorney General, Justin Hykes (614-387-4257 ):

He is saying that the AG office is going through these registered sex offenders manually to determine if their registry entries are correct. Mr. Hykes believes this manual process will take 4 – 6 weeks to complete. ( This is an unacceptable time frame !)

They are waiting for the OH Supreme Court to rule on the clarification motion before reclassifying everyone at once. (This is a stalling tactic by the AG. By filing this motion for clarification, they have a flimsy excuse for not reclassifying everyone in a timely manner). He has “no idea” when the Supreme Court will rule on the Clarification Motion.

Mr. Hykes is advising offenders to comply with their registrations even if they should now be expired. He said the Sheriffs’ may arrest out of compliance offenders, leaving offenders to prove they have judicial orders before they could be released. The offender would be found not guilty of failure to register but not until after being arrested. (Then they can file a lawsuit for this false arrest.)
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Email or Fax Your Judicial Order to the Ohio Attorney General:

In light of these discoveries, we suggest all readers who are now improperly classified sex offenders fax or email their “judicial order” papers to the Attorney General’s office. When you were convicted and sentenced, you should have had a separate judicial hearing where a judge determined your classification ( Sexually Oriented Offender, Habitual Offender, or Predator). If you can find this paper, you should fax or email it to the AG Office with “Attention: Justin Hykes” on the subject line.

Justin Hykes, Assistant Attorney General of Ohio
justin.hykes@ohioattorneygeneral.gov
614-387-4257
FAX 614-466-5087 (main AG fax)
(This is the best Fax number we can find at this time. We do not know yet to what division this fax number goes to. Readers can try to call various numbers within the AG Department and ask for a fax number. If anyone can obtain or confirm a Fax number, please let us know here)

They are, of course, refusing to give out an appropriate Fax number. I did also get an e-Fax number which will go to Paula Armantrout at 866-721-2283 ( Managing Supervisor for Help Center), who “promised” to forward faxes to Justin Hykes. We shall see if that actually happens.

It is very disturbing that Mr. Hykes is stating that invalidated ex offenders are “required to register”, even though they are illegally classified by the Ohio Attorney General Office, which is failing to take action to remove these offenders from their registry list.

We have also been told by another AG Official that Sheriffs cannot arrest an ex offender who is now not legally required to register due to the June 3rd Supreme Court ruling. Despite the fact that this demonstrates how incompetent the Office of the AG is in giving out contradictory information, it opens a wide gate for lawsuits should any ex offender be arrested for not registering when they are no longer legally required to do so.

Widespread and massive lawsuits against the State should follow if anyone is arrested after the Supreme Court has ruled that they have been unconstitutionally classified and are no longer required to register.

To Public Defenders:

We know that some County and State Public Defenders read our blogs. If you have any information for us about this threat to arrest those who do not register when they are no longer required to register, please send us an email here. Please also let us know what type of legal recourse or protection is appropriate should any of these invalidated registrants be arrested falsely. We would like to post this information for our readers. Thank you.


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Sex Crimes Can Never Be Eradicated

June 17, 2010 Comments off

As much as we, as a society, would like to see the end of all sex crimes in this nation, it will never happen. To believe or suggest otherwise is simply naivete and foolishness.

If you disagree, let’s look at the facts of our society. Don’t most people in our society abhor the taking of another human life? Don’t we want murder to stop? Haven’t we had laws to deter murder for hundreds of years in this country? Of course, we have tried futiley since the inception of our nation to eradicate murder.

Have we ever, over the course of humanity, been able to end all murders? The answer is, obviously: no.

Our laws become deterrents for most people to commit such horrific crimes, but not for all. This truth holds true for all crimes: drunk driving, abuse, theft, fraud, speeding, racism, etc.. None of these can ever be erased from our society regardless of the punishments associated with them. No matter what laws these legislators can dream up, there will always be some who commit sex offenses.

Once we understand this simple truth, we can come to rational approaches to drafting logical sex offender laws. Sex offenses are no worse, nor no better, than any other type of crime. Crime is crime. Right is right, Wrong is wrong.

But as long as we have “sky-is-falling” irrational maniacs driving our legislators to continue this broad-brush, punching-bag style legislative fight against sex offenders, we will never come to effective, constitutional and balanced sex offender legislation in this country.

The Ohio vs. Bodyke Supreme Court ruling is just one step in the right direction. We still have a huge battle before us to step away from all of these emotion-driven sex offender laws across the nation. We, as the people, are to blame. Legislators only act when they see it in their own political self-interest to do so.

If we can ever educate the panic-driven people who want to throw sex offenders off bridges, or castrate them, or worse….we can finally see some rational and logical legislation dealing with this crime. Just as we do with all other crimes. Until then, the hysterical sex offender laws will continue to cause devastation to the families of nearly one million Americans and to threaten the stability of our society.

US House Votes to Ban Mortgages to Sex Offenders

June 17, 2010 Comments off

Sex Offenders Flagged for FHA Mortgages — The House passed an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, to the FHA Reform Act that will require individuals applying for mortgage from the Federal Housing Administration to certify that they have not been convicted of a sex offense against a minor.

http://www.buffalonews.com/2010/06/14/1081703/last-week-in-congress-how-our.html

What About All Those Fees County Sheriffs Extort From Sex Offenders on Registries?

June 16, 2010 Comments off

We first reported in April 2009 of Ohio County Sheriff Departments charging fees to registered sex offenders when they register on site. See: Ohio County Sheriffs Rape Sex Offenders

We then began hearing that Sheriff Departments were charging such fees in more than 20 Ohio Counties. See: More Ohio Counties Charge Sex Offenders

This allowance was written into the Ohio Revised Code:
311.171 Fees for sex offender registration and notification.(Maximum fee =$100 per year)

We have suggested all along that ex sex offenders refuse to pay these extortion fees. The law says that Sheriffs cannot refuse to register those who do not pay (see C 5). And any unpaid fees can only be pursued through civil debt collection (see C 6): “The county may recover those fees in a civil action in the same manner as other money due the county.”

Now the question arises: What do we do about all the fees which were paid to Sheriff Departments across the state by ex offenders who are now affected by the Bodyke Supreme Court ruling?

Those who are now expunged from the sex offender registries have every right to sue the County, State, Ohio Attorney General and County Sheriff Department to reclaim this money. We suggest that any ex offender who is now removed from the registries file suit to reclaim these fees. This can be done through small claims court, where citizens can sue for amounts less than $3000. Citizens can sue without an attorney and a small filing fee will be required. Check your local courts for instructions on how to file such lawsuits. We are not legal professionals and cannot give specific legal advice, so you should consult your own legal professional or do your own research. It is probably a good idea to include all of those agencies to be sure you include the ultimate party of responsibility (Your County, The State of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General and County Sheriff Department).

Even if this money does not mean much to you (or if you would rather just let it go and get on with your life) you should consider doing this. Putting more pressure on the Sheriff Departments and State will further the cause against such punitive sex offender laws. Right now, in this nation and state, sex offenders are the easy punching bag. Only by fighting back in these types of battles will we ever see significant changes in sex offender laws.

Emails from Ohio Attorney General

June 16, 2010 Comments off

We have received some emails from a reader who contacts the Ohio Attorney General regularly (We thank him and we should all be doing this).

“According to our Attorney, on Friday we’ll give them a list of offenders who we expired. On Monday they will be sending out a letter. It would probably take several days to a week before the letter will get to you. So I would hope that by the 25th you should have something.”

Stephen R. Brown ,Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray,Ohio BCI&I
Supervisor OHLEG/eSorn Technical Support Group, 866.406.4534, 740.845.2229

“After reviewing your record, we have determined that under Megan’s Law your registration duties have been fulfilled. Please contact your County Sheriff Office regarding the expiration of your sex offender record and the subsequent duties to register.”

Stephen R. Brown ,Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray,Ohio BCI&I
Supervisor OHLEG/eSorn Technical Support Group, 866.406.4534, 740.845.2229

We also recieved this , from another reader (Thank you):

“Spoke to Bob Hastings, Hamilton County Appellate Public Defender today. He had the following to say:

* He believes the Ohio Supreme Court will reclassify those in groups a and b (see AG motion to Supreme Court I sent out yesterday and attached here again). He feels those in group C may not be reclassified. He said it is around 50 offenders in group C.

* Bob said he believes the AG office will move forward soon to reclassify those in group A, especially those who will fall off the registry due to the Bodyke decision. He says it is expensive to keep these SOs in the system and that the AG knows that.

* If the AG stops moving forward his office will take legal action.

* Any independent motion by a single SO will take up to 6 months to be resolved. So it is not very prudent at this time to take court action.

* He is meeting tomorrow with the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office and will keep me updated. ”